Guatemala: Two Homeless Youths Killed FWD

Tom Boland (
Tue, 11 Aug 1998 11:38:59 -0700 (PDT)

FWD  Reply-To: "Casa Alianza - Regional Office" <>

Subject:               CERIGUA Briefs #29/98 (fwd)

Two Homeless Youths Killed

Guatemala City, July 29.  Early yesterday morning city paramedics
discovered the butchered body of 20-year-old Felipe Leonel Gonzalez in
the office of an abandoned car dealership.  The youth's death has
shaken staff of the advocacy group Casa Alianza, where he had
participated in rehabilitation programs, who fear that attacks against
street kids are once again on the rise.

"It's terrible that these kind of actions have reappeared," said the
group's lawyer Hector Dionisio.  Dionisio and his colleagues suspect
that the youth, whose body showed more than 30 wounds from a machete,
was killed because he had witnessed the death of another teen from
their program, 19-year-old Oswaldo Edmundo Valdez Gonzalez.  Valdez
was fatally stabbed two days earlier.

"As a society we have to understand that 'social cleansing' is not the
correct response to the situation faced by homeless children," said
Casa Alianza director Bruce Harris.

The U.N. Verification Mission (MINUGUA) confirmed in its last human
rights report that social cleansing -- summary execution of suspected
criminals or social outcasts -- is a growing phenomenon in the

Apart from these youths' deaths, four other street children have been
murdered this year, Casa Alianza states.

Abuse against homeless children and youths by both criminals and the
authorities has a long history here.  In eight years of legal work in
the country, Casa Alianza has presented 365 cases of abuse against
street children to the courts, but only 15 have been solved.  Four
cases from Guatemala have gone on to the Inter-American Human Rights
Commission because of inaction.

Most recently, the commission accepted the case of a 1990 attack on
two 14-year-old boys by private security guards.  The four guards
picked up the boys for "causing problems" and held them for more than
an hour, while they set their German shepherd on them.  Both children
were bitten repeatedly.

After Casa Alianza pressed charges, the courts ordered arrest warrants
for the guards in 1992, but none of them has been detained.


Casa Alianza Says Guatemala Still Needs to be Watched for Human
Rights Violations

The regional office of Casa Alianza, with headquarters in San
Jose, Costa Rica, declared that it is "imperative" that Guatemala
continue to be under the jurisdiction of the Interamerican Human
Rights Court (IHRC) of the Organization of American States (OAS).

This was in reaction to a resolution proposed by the right-wing
Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG) party to declare
unconstitutional a decree recognizing Guatemala as being within
that jurisdiction.  Government Decree 123-87, which recognizes
the jurisdiction of the IHRC over Guatemala, was signed by former
president Vinicio Cerezo in 1987.

Casa Alianza Regional Director Bruce Harris said that in
Guatemala, where political crimes, the murder of street children,
impunity and a corrupt justice system are everyday events, there is no
other alternative but to turn to international organisms for at least
a certain level of justice.

According to Casa Alianza, affiliated with Covenant House in the
U.S., the FRG has made this proposal to protect their leader,
Gen. Efrain Rios Montt, and other former military leaders who are
accused of major human rights violations.  (Agencia Informativa
Amarc-Pulsar, 8/7/98)
Casa Alianza/Covenant House Latin America
SJO 1039
PO Box 025216, Miami FL 33102-5216  USA

Tel. in Costa Rica: +506-253-5439 or 253-6338
Fax in Costa Rica:  +506-224-5689

Home page address:

"In their little worlds in which children have their existence,
there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt,
as injustice...."

Charles Dickens, "Great Expectations"
Streetkid-L Resource Page:
Listowner:, John Brown University


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